Boomer Esiason: Stafford Needs To Be Less Eli Manning, More Tom Brady

He wants Patricia to start holding him accountable.

The Valenti Show
October 04, 2018 - 5:08 pm

© Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

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When former NFL MVP Boomer Esiason watches Matthew Stafford, he's left wanting more. Particularly, he feels Stafford needs to show more fire. 

Esiason, now an NFL analyst on CBS, says Stafford conducts himself like Eli Manning, when the Lions need someone more in the mold of Tom Brady. (Doesn't every NFL team.)

"Matthew Stafford is a great quarterback, he can throw it with anybody. I want Matt Patricia to hold him accountable. You know, 'It's not going to be all about you in the fourth quarter, son. I need you to be careful. I need you to be energetic.' One of the reasons why I think Tom Brady screams a lot on the sideline is because I think he tries to whip himself up into a frenzy, and I don't see that from Matthew. I see a lot of Eli Manning in Matthew, like, 'Oh, it's okay.' No, it's not okay. It's your team and you have to get your guys to believe in you and that you're going to win," Esiason told the Valenti Show on 97.1 The Ticket.

Stafford, now in his 10th season with the Lions, owns a 61-68 career record. That can be pinned on a variety of issues, starting with the players around him in the past. It's also true that Stafford can be passive on the sidelines, though how much of that is to blame for his shortcomings is hard to say. Eli Manning, a player as understated as they come, is a two-time Super Bowl winner. 

Still, in Esiason's mind, Stafford's ability to take the next step is tied to his willingness to be a more emotional leader. And that will start with Patricia. 

"I think Matt Patricia, being around Tom Brady all those years, knows what the consummate professional is watching the greatest of all time. He has to try to impart some of that wisdom on Mathew, and hopefully Matthew will buy into it. He'll buy into what his coach is selling and not be a locker room lawyer and be a locker room leader. Eventually that thing will turn around as long as the head coach and the quarterback get in sync and they can believe in each other, much like they do in New England," Esiason said. 

Stafford, 30, inked a five-year, $137.5 million extension with the Lions last year. He's coming off the best personal season of his career, though the Lions missed the playoffs. That's pretty much par for the course. Stafford has been to the playoffs just three times since breaking into the league in 2009 and has yet to win a game. 

It bears mention that the most Esiason achieved in his 14-year career was an AFC Championship in 1988. He had a career record of 80-93.

"You're not going to win every game, I get that. And not every game is going to be your best game," he said. "Sometimes you really have to fight through it and grind, and that's when you have really have to have an attitude because you have to believe that you can win even when you're not at your best.

"But staying high-energy all the time for four quarters, to me, is a prerequisite of making $25 million a year and playing quarterback in this league, because the league is about you. It's about you and how you play and how much you get out of your teammates. That's why sometimes it's frustrating watching some of these guys that don't do it every single week and don't do it as good as guys like Drew Brees or Tom Brady." 

Told of Esiasion's comments, Stafford said on Thursday it doesn't affect him. 

"I respect his opinion. Whatever he wants to say, he can say. He’s not in our locker room, not with our guys, not with me -- ever. So I don’t put too much credit into that," Stafford said. 

Asked if he's vocal with his teammates when he needs to be, Stafford said, "Absolutely. I think we all know that, right? I’m trying to help out every single player on our team as much as I possibly can. Whether that’s certain guys you’re jumping on or the next guy you’re patting on the back, everybody needs a little something different sometimes. I’m just trying to do my best to give that to those guys." 

For Stafford, what happens between teammates is better left behind closed doors, rather than aired out on the sideline or in a press conference after the game. 

“In my opinion, what I say in our locker room to our team and to our players isn’t for public consumption," Stafford said. "That’s just how I feel about it and that’s probably not going to change. That’s who I am, that’s how I feel this game should be played. We’re in that locker room for a reason, we’re part of the team. I appreciate everybody that pulls for us and all of that, but at the same time, those guys and I have to be on the same page and I’m going to talk to them directly if I have to talk to them."